On a sufficient acquaintance with the work this would probably have revealed the essential nature of the instrument to a hearer unacquainted with technicalities, and revealed it rather as a characteristic than as a limitation.
But Irenaeus was at most fifteen when thus frequenting Polycarp; writes thirty-five to fifty years later in Lyons, admitting that he noted down nothing at the time; and, since his mistaken description of Papias as " a hearer of John " the Zebedean was certainly reached by mistaking the presbyter for the apostle, his additional words " and a companion of Polycarp " point to this same mistaken identification having also operated in his mind with regard to Polycarp. In any case, the very real and important presbyter is completely unknown to Irenaeus, and his conclusion as to the book's authorship resulted apparently from a comparison of its contents with Polycarp's teaching.
A given note has always the same frequency, that is to say, the hearer receives the same number of waves per second whatever the source by which the note is produced.
But probably in practice there is not a sufficient interval between source and hearer for these tones to grow into any importance, and they can at most be only a small addition to those formed in the source or the ear.
And in reality it would be difficult to account for this feature except on the supposition that one who had lived through the events had been accustomed, when required to give a comprehensive sketch of the history of the ministry and sufferings of Jesus, to relate the facts in the main as they happened; and that a hearer of his has to a considerable extent reproduced them in the same order.